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The Jesuit Museum Cebu or Museo Pari-an sa Sugbo Travel Guide

It was already late afternoon but we feel that we need to make the most of our time in Cebu so we decided to find the historic Jesuit House or locally called as Museo Pari-an sa Sugbo. We ate too many and rested well in our hotel, One Central Cebu that we are in dire need to get out. While many old houses in Cebu claim they are the oldest, the Jesuit Museum could be indeed the oldest existing ancestral house in the Philippines because of an original and official plaque bearing the date " Año 1730" found hanging on one of its walls. 

Just a few blocks away from Yap-San Diego and Cebu Heritage Monument, the Jesuit Museum's entrance is a bit of a turn off. We nearly thought we were in a wrong place but an old sign proved otherwise. We saw a truck parked in front of the main entrance carrying cements and hollow blocks that are used to build concrete houses. When we passed by the main entrance we realized that this old Jesuit museum in Cebu hides at the back of Ho Tong warehouse which is owned by one of the relatives of the current owners of the Jesuit Museum.
This two-storey house of cut coral stone walls, tugas hardwood floors and terra cotta roof was once called the Jesuit House as it was where the former Jesuit superior of Cebu lived. It has been turned into the Museo Par-an sa Sugbo. Fr. William Repetti, , S.J., a seismologist and archivist of the Jesuits, identified this old structure as the "Jesuit House of 1730". According to many historians, the Jesuits lived in this house until 1768 when they were expelled from the Philippines following their suppression in Europe.
We were welcomed by a young man who introduced himself as one of the resident tour guides of the Jesuit House of Cebu. Entering this house gives a bit of shivers all over my body. It's the house I would certainly not agree to be left alone in the middle of the night! I know there's a lot of Cebu's Jesuit Museum that have been told online so in this blog post, I will showcase the many texts that I have read there.

The Jesuit Museum Cebu's first floor contains replicas of old maps and Cebu's history including the demolition of Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, an artist rendition of the Parian of Cebu in the 1870's, photos of the rehabilitation done to this house for the purpose of preserving this for the longest time possible, old maps and broken things that were found within the vicinity of Jesuit Museum.

The demolition of Iglesia de San Juan Bautista 
Ecclesiastically, Parian church existed separately from the ciudad at the start of the 17th century. By the second half of 18th century, Parian devloped in affluence becoming the most prominent district of the port area. By 1830, following the death of Father Vasquez, the new bishop of Cebu Father Santos Gomez Maranon, petitioned to have the Parian parish suppressed and incorporated into the Cathedral hence reducing Cebu city to one parish only.  One reason for the suppression was the threat of dominating Chinese mestizo community of Parian and their elaborate church. Other reasons were jurisdictional powers over its land and inhabitants by Parian and the Augustinians. However, the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictional struggle continued which led to the abolition of the parish. Despite the move to cease its independent existence from the Cathedral, Parian parish continued to function with limited capacity until it was finally demolished in 1878-1879. The church was condemned and destroyed leaving the plot of land in Parian vaant which served as the Mestizo Tribunal until the end of Spanish rule in 1898. The convent of the church was spared and  used later during the American regime as a public library and fire station.

The history of Cebu

Cebu from 1565-1614 The Spanish settlement of Cebu, then called Ciudad, was established in 1565 when conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived on the island. It was built in the port area exclusively for the Spaniards. Legazpi segregated it into two divisions: one for the Poblacion de Naturales, which is present day San Nicolas and the other is Pari-an, which rose on the northern side of the settlement around 1590, when Chinese traders and artisans occupied the area as their home, market and trading center.

By the end of the 16th century, the Spaniards began to define the Ciudad as "intramuros" or walled city. However, historians discovered that instead of walls, pantanos or swamps defined its borders. This distinguished the "intramuros" to the "extramuros", the spaces outside the ciudad where Pari-an district belonged. Spanish residents invited Jesuit priests to Cebu to establish a school for their children. They built the Colegio de San Ildefonso (current University of San Carlos), an escuela, casa and iglesia at the northern part of the Fort. The priests were tasked to Christianize Pari-an's Chinese residents and learn the Chinese language plus culture so they could expand their mission to China.

Encomienda system and the Pari-an Chinese district
The Encomienda de Cebu was established in 1570 five years after the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The system was part of the economic policies of the Spanish colonizers to organize the colony and to educate and indoctrinate Catholicism to the natives (Indios). However, this system became a tool for abused by the Encomenderos. Moreover, for some time after the establishment of the Encomienda de Cebu the Chinese families and mestizos (sangleys) outnumbered the Spaniards. As the Spaniards were getting smaller in number, their wealth also diminished. The Chinese mestizos continued to dominate the Pari-an district, with their various businesses lining along Colon street inspire of the establishment of the Encomienda de Cebu.

Some Pari-an residents created various establishments, such as bakeries, specialty shops, theaters and movie houses, printing press and hardware stores. These lined up Colon street, making it one of the most progressive commercial areas in the country. Residents also controlled the port area with their brokerage companies. They owned coastal vessels, collected goods in the provinces and forwarded them to Manila.

The Pari-an District from 19th - 20th century
Towards the late 19th and early 20th centuries the estuary/ estero of Pari-an has become silted and were no longer navigable. Due to this ecological chagne, soon Parian began to evolve from a commercial to a suburban residential district rather than a trading ghetto. Upon the in-flock of new wave of Chinese immigrants, Cebu's commerce has shifted towards the Ermita-Lutao area (present day Carbon market) which was closer to the shore, leaving Parian to mestizo and Indio residents. Soon, the Chinese mestizos and the Chinese had become the most dynamic commercial group in the city.

The Shop Houses of Pari-and District

Colon street was the most dynamic commercial area in Cebu during the colonial period. Eventually, Parian district evolved from a commercial to a suburban residential district and later became known as an "aristocratic bario" well into the early 20th century. Usually the houses are made of two floors. The ground floor is occupied by a shop then the second floor is the residential area.

Cebu from 1565 to 1614
On October 22, 1614, Fr. Pedro de Arca, the second bishop of Cebu, separated the port area into three parishes: the Cathedral for the Spaniards, the San Juan de Bautista parish for the Christian Chinese and Filipinos (Pari-an) who lived in the areas bordering the ciudad, and the third division for the local people (naturales, indios) in San Nicolas. The Agustinians, who came with Legazpi, built their monastery in the intramuros, It is now known as the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino.

The Parian Church, The Revolution and the 1900's Parian

In 1828, the Spanish Bishop ordered the abolition of the Parian Church, which was dedicated to San Juan de Bautista. But it was only in 1878, upon the order of the Spanish governor-general that the church was torn down. With the Parian Church demolished, parishioners were forced to go to the Cathedral, which cradled the diocesan leadership that extended to the whole of Visayas, northern Mindanao and the Marianas Islands. It was also said that the stones from the demolished church buildings were used in constructing the Carcel de Cebu, now Museo Sugbo. The present-day fire station is where the former convent used to stand.

The history of the Jesuit House in Cebu

When the current owners of the 1730 Jesuit House, the Sy family with Mr. Jaime Sy as CEO of the family-owned business Ho Tong Hardware (located near the main entrance and in front of Jesuit House), decided to open its doors to the public in 2008, the structural system of the house, particularly the wood posts, was in need of major repair. The project team headed by UAP Sugbu Chapter Architect Anthony Abelgas, discovered that the wood posts were already "floating" and were no longer providing the necessary structural support to carry the weight of the heavy wood trusses and roof tiles.

While the workers were excavating the area for the concrete pedestals and its footings, some centuries old artifacts were accidentally uncovered. These artifacts are on display in this gallery. The team behind the repairs were focused on maintaining the structural integrity of the centuries-old house and had no intention of doing archaeological digging.

The Jesuits established themselves outside of Manila (i.e. Intramuros) in a place called Laguio, around present day Ermita, until 1587, when the Jesuits were prevailed upon to accept contiguous lots in Manila where Don Gabriel de Ribera offered to build a church of wood and tile roof at his expense, 14 other lots were scattered, which the Jesuits accepted as a source of revenue to fund their apostolic works.

In 1591, responding to the acute need for priests, the Jesuits accepted Balayan in Batangas from the Franciscans as their responsibility but that was short-lived. The mission was ceded later to the Augustinians under whom it remained until the 19th century. In the same year, the Franciscans turned over Antipolo and the neighboring town of Taytay to the Jesuits. Historian and chronicler Pedro Chirino was the first Jeusit assigned to Taytay. By the 1600's, Antipolo had become the center of the mission area along the northeastern shore of Laguna de Bae-e.

Responding to the request of the encomendero Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa, a generous benefactor of the Jesuits, Chrino was sent by Sedeno to Tigbauan in Iloilo. There Chirino established a missio nand a school in 1593.

1595 was a decisive year in the history of the Visayas. A papal decree raised Manila to an archdiocesa, and its territory which comprised the whole Philippines, a royal decree partitioned the Philippines into jurisdictions to which the religious orders were assigned. The Jesuits were assigned to Samar and Leyte with their adjoining islands extending up to Mindanao. For the sake of governance, the religious were allowed to open central houses in the diocesan centers.

Sedeno dispatched Chirino to Cebu to establish house there. Chirino accepted gifts from the Spanish in Cebu and a house given to him he remodeled to make it more suited to a religious residence. He had a chapel built for the house. Sedeno arrived in Cebu but was unfortunately taken ill and died. Chirino had him buried in the chapel he has built.

The Jesuit Museum's Rehabilitation Process: Base soil preparation, Reinforcement & Concreting

A house that's as old as time is certainly not easy to maintain. Here are some of the processes that were made to maintain the "good posture" of the Jesuit House in Cebu.
  • Three diagonal holes were drilled underneath the post for the anchors
  • Gravels were added to fill up void areas within the boulders
  • The stainless shaftings were anchored to the reinforcing bars
  • Pouring concrete on the pedestal
  • Stainless steel shaftings were placed diagonally to anchor the wood post to the concrete pedestal
  • The gravels were tamped again to compact the base further.
  • Big boulders were placed on the sandy soil and tamped for better stability.
  • Reinforcing bars were put in place
  • Water was continuously pumped out while pouring the concrete

The rise of Parian  from 1770 to 1850 and onwards

By the mid-19th century, the Mestizo de Sangley (Chinese Mestizo) families saw the potential of agriculture. Their business interests began to shift from commerce to agriculture. They acquired and developed properties in places like Talamban, Talisay, Naga and Carcar. This saw the basis of Parian's reputation as "the most productive" district and the "center of commerce" in Cebu. As these families, branched out to the countryside, they took with them the architectural influencers of Parian, some of which are still visible in towns like Carcar.

Ang Bisaya
This carving is the work of Justino "Paloy" Cagayat of Paete, Laguna. Awarded by CCP with the title Manlilikha ng Bayan, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in traditional crafts and trades. Mang Paloy learned the art of carving santo or images of saints from his grandfather and father.

In this three-dimensional depiction of a male Visayan of the 18th century, the design for the clothing was guided by the written description of Fr. Francisco Ignacio Alzina in his manuscript Historia de las islas e indios de Bisayas (1672). Fr. Alzina lived and worked among the Visayas for many decades, becoming a master in the language and a keen observer of this surroundings. His manuscript is the earliest existing ethnographic record on the Visayan Island and people.

By accepting Samar, Leyte and Mindanao as mission territories, along with Cebu and later Bohol, Jesuits committed themselves to the conversion and evangelization of the Visayas. Spaniards called the Visayans "pintados" because they tattooed their bodies. Tattooing was a rite of passage, more extensive and elaborate for females. The Jesuits tolerated the practice of tattooing but by the 17th century there were less and less tattooed Visayans because the Jesuits started educating them when they were still children.

He describes Visayan males as ordinarily dressed in a bahag. Vanity dictated that the front panel of the bahag be longer than the back. For more formal occasion or during cold weather, the Visayan would wear a sanina, a type of tunic consisting of cloth sewn together without much cutting. It was like a sack with holes for the head and he arms. The sanina  was tied at the waist by a sash over which the Visayan would add an ornament ending in a ball-like fringe. Alzina’s writing is accompanied by illustration in the Boxer Codex served as reference for visualizing the Visayan male.

Alzina’s manuscript and the historic illustrations suggest that the Visayans Blessed Pedro Calungsod knew, and probably he was dressed like this model. The camisa chino  in which Pedro Calungsod has been ressed is a garment from the 9th century, not the 17th when Calungsod lived and died.

Ignacio Alzia, S.J., who was through most of his life a missionary among the Visayans wrote favorably about them. He said that the one possible root of the word “Visayan” is “aya”, meaning a person with pleasant disposition, a happy person. He described them as more robust than the Tagalogs, the men as able sailors and navigators, and the women skilled in man crafts. He found them curious and easy to teach. While there were uprising in the Visayas,like the Diwata revolt of 1622 in Bohol and the Sumoroy revolt in Samar, these were quelled and the Visayans were Christianized.

Filipina School Girls At Escuela de Hijas, Manila c. 19000s. Similar types of schools were established by the Jesuits.

The schools were known as seminarium, from the Latin term meaning seedbed because in these schools the seeds of the Gospel were sown. Jesuits believed that by educating children, they would in turn influence their parents and adults. To insure that this happened, there was a daily procession of children who chanted prayers and lessons from the catechism within hearing to the villagers.
By accepting Samar & Leyte and Mindanao as mission territories, along with Cebu and later Bohol, Jesuits committed themselves to the conversion and evangelization of the Visayas. Spaniards called the Visayans “Pintados” because they tattooed their bodies. Tattooing was a rite of passage, more extensive and elaborate for males.
The Jesuits tolerated the practice of tattooing but by the 17th century there were less and less tattooed Visayans because the Jesuits started educating them they were still children. Children who were baptized were not tattooed.

Born in Spain in 1627, Padre San Vitores was persuaded by his parents to pursue a military career, but instead pursued religious interests. In 1640, he became a Jesuit novitiate and then in 1651 an ordained priest. In 1668 he went to Marianas islands, then to Guam for missionary work. One of his assistants was Pedro Calungsod, one of the exemplary young catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission there.

Both Padre San Vitores and Pedro Calungsod were assassinated by Tumon Village chief Mata”pang and a villager named Hirao, who were opposed to their missionary work. Their corpses were denuded, tied with large stones and thrown into the sea. Blessed Pedro Calungsod is set for canonization as a saint on October 21, 2012.

The evangelization strategy of working well-thought through and carefully executed, beginning in the 16th century with the pioneer missionaries. Children would remain under the care of the Jesuits, divided into boys and girls under a lay maestro and maestra, a baptized adult Visayan well-versed in the faith. These children lived in separate dormitories in the reducciones. Everyday, the teachers would bring them to the church for a round of prayers and devotion and for catechetical instruction before they went to school to learn the basics of faith.

In 1595, the same year as his arrival in Cebu, Chirino was asked by bishop Pedro Agurto to take charge of the Chinese in Parian. Chirino baptized the first two Chinese converts and by 1599, the Chinese had built their own church. For five years beginning in 1595, the Chinese were being evangelized and ministered to by the Jesuits.

In 1600, Raimundo Prat was sent as visitors from Rome to check on the status of the Jesuits in the Philippines. During his visitation, the conclusion was reached that the Jesuits had over extended themselves and needed to consolidate its manpower. The responsibility of the Panan?? (masyadong maliwanag) was turned over to the diocesan clergy. Agurto agreed tot his proposal, however, he asked the Jesuits to look after Mandaue, Tanay in Negros Oriental, Inabanga and Talibon in Bohol. The Jesuits answered that they did not have the personnel but would serve these places as best they could.

Because they were university trained and because many of their members were academics Dominicans and Jesuits were the most qualified to engage the Chinese because crucial to such engagement was the mastery of the complex Chinese language and even more complex writing system.

The Chinese Apostolate
The Jesuits residence was situated near Parian where the newly arrived Jesuits began to evangelize the Chinese community of about 200. As recorded by Fr. pedro Chirino, S.J. the Parian “district at the time was under the charge of Jesuit Society where they administered the sacraments to the residents, including Chinese, Japanese, Moluccan and Bisayan wives and servants.”
In 1596, on Pentecost Saturday, the first Chinese converts were baptized which included two prominent men from the Chinese quarter, Don Lorenzo Ungac and Don Salvador Tuigam. In 1595, the Jesuits opened a “free primary school” and by 1599, the Chinese Christians of Cebu built their own church which bishop gave to the Jesuits administrator.

Bishops relied on the Jesuits and Dominicans in dealing with the Chinese. The Chinese of Binondo were turned to care of the Dominicans, while the mestizo-chino of Isla de Romeria or Sta. Cruz to the Jesuits. Bishop Agurto’s confidence in the Jesuit, when he entrusted the Parian of Cebu to them had a strong warrant.

Although the Jesuits has to abandon their apostolate with the chinese in Cebu, the secular clergy to whom the task was entrusted were effective in wielding the Chinese Christians as a community. By the 19th century they had their own church built b a mestizo-chino priest.

The Jesuits had long dreamt of establishing a foothold in China ever since Francis Xavier set eyes on the mainland from Sancian Island. The Portuguese Jesuits took the lead in entering China, when they established a base and later a college in Macao to train missionaries in the Chinese Language. The Spanish province sought to enter China using the Philippines as a base.

The Jesuit House of 1730

In 1593, the first Jesuit to arrive in Cebu was Fr. Gonsalvo Pareira. A mission house was opened. Fr. Pereira arrived in Cebu for his mission assignment to the Moluccas. Despite this, it was only in 1595 that the status of the Philippine Jesuit Mission was raised to Vice-Province, then later to an Ecclesiastical Province. With this, Manila was raised to a Metropolitan Archdiocese, and three Suffragan Dioceses (including Cebu) were erected.
In response to the growing missionary work to the Eastern Visayas Islands of Leyte, Samar and Marinduque (and later on to Mindanao), another mission house was built 1730 close to the site of the earlier house. The Jesuit House of 1730 served as auxiliary headquarters overseeing mission works in Visayas & Mindanao, only second in importance to Manila.

The residencia had no fixed income. It relied purely on alms and whatever came in because of the work of the Jesuits. Mission stations were supervised by the residencia, where the superior of an area reside. Here the Jesuits in an area would come together annually for about two weeks for rest, study, meeting and prayer. From the residencia, a pair of Jesuits would go out on a mission tour to attend to the spiritual needs of the different mission stations. After the pair had left, another pair would follow shortly so that the mission stations always had a priest attending to the education and pastoral care of the people. This mission tour was necessary because, for a long time, there were no stable towns or parishes and the population dispersed over a wide area.

After the visitation of Raimundo Prat in 1600, the Jesuits’ work was consolidated under what Ignacio Alzina (writing in 1672) described as a system of colegios and residencias.

The colegio or colleges were residential schools, where a community of Jesuits lived and where there were also student borders, some were Jesuits scholastics pursuing or completing studies. According the Jesuit constitutions, these colleges had fixed income derived from endowments, usually in the form of estates or haciendas. These endowments paid for all the expenses: the sustenance of the Jesuits, the upkeep of the buildings, and the board & lodging and scholarship of the students.

In 1951, a group of Chinese Cebuanos led by Mr. Francis Lim petitioned the Archbishop of Cebu for a new Chinese Parish in Cebu. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gotianun sought the permission of the Jesuit Superior of China Mission, Rev. Fr. Paul O’Brien, S.J., for a Jesuit priest to take care of the needs of the Cebu Chinese community.Both petitions were granted.

In the Holy week of 1952, Rev. Fr. Miguel Pardinas S.J., arrived and laid the groundwork for the founding of a new Chinese parish which called Our Lady Queen of China. Together with different laymen, including the late Mr. Francis Lim, Mr. Jose Yap Bioshe, and Mr. Perfecto Gotanco, they soon founded the new parish which was located at the rectory of the Cebu Cathedral. Archbishop Rosales gave them the ground floor hall of the convent which they converted into a chapel. By Christmas time, there were already regular masses held for the Chinese community.

With the arrival of Rev. Fr. Arthur Bauer, S.J., a big lot was purchased on D. Jakosalem Street. On the feast of the Sacred Heart in 1960, Archbishop Rosales laid the cornerstone for the church that will become a landmark of Cebu City and a symbol of the Chinese Catholic faith. While still in its completion stage, the first mass in the Sacred Heart Church was offered on the eve of Christmas in 1960.

While the Sacred Heart School for boys was being built, the parish leased the old Boy's Town of the Cathedral and developed the building into a parish center. The facility included residence for the priest and recreational facilities for the youth.

In 1976, the parish acquired a property near the parish along D. Jakosalem St.and constructed a center for the development of the youth of the parish. The center will also serve as a meeting place for family and social gatherings. Some apostolic and administrative offices will also be located in the center.

In 1954, another project was realized in the foundog of Sacred Hrart Academy with the arrival of Rev. Fr. Francisco Heras, S.J., a veteran educator of the Jesuit China Mission. The first school building was rented at the corner of Manalili and Mabini Streets. Calsses were opened on time in June with affiliations to the Colegiode de San Jose Recolletos through Rev. Fr. Martin Legarnes. The first year saw Chinese children enrolled in the academy. At this time, both boys and girls were using the same school building.

In June of 1956, Rev. Mo. Alonso and five sisters of the Daughters of Jesus arrived to take care of the girls' section of the Sacred Heart of School. In May, 1957, the sisters bought a large lot in Camias Street which is the present site of the Sacred Heart School for the girls.

At the second floor of the former house of Jesuits in Cebu, you'll see religious statues and family photos of current owners. It is also very obvious that it is a house of a wealthier family back then because of the precious furniture and belongings that an ordinary Filipino by blood couldn't afford to own.

NOTE: All the information shown above were sourced from the Jesuit Museum Cebu. We merely copy and pasted all the information printed inside to show you what's in there. All credits are given to the people behind this museum.

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